Verlena carries a black cane. I have lumpy veins. Our ages add up to nearly a gross of years in this hotbed of stair steps, ellipticals, rowing machines, barbells, mirrors, and sweat. Neither of us has stomach for the maiming news on silenced TVs or a captioned chef stuffing wieners with cheddar cheese. I flaunt red nails on heart-monitoring handlebars. She wears a red sweatshirt. We show up. I suggest we wait for the firefighters’ free gym access at eleven. They are cuter than the upper-chest guy pumping up to dazzle skinny boy learning squats. Verlena lays down her cane, leans into the upper-back torture rack. She laments no one guesses she eyes groins and puffed-out pecs. Doing lat pulls, I huff out how much I admire tight-spanked butts when stuck in traffic, those men in two-tone bike shorts zipping up the right lane, the swervy audacity of steel-strung calves on sculpted seats. The firefighters never come. Something burns. The two lifters trade hints on mixing slow counts with heavy reps. We flesh out odes. They count haiku.